Oregon System

Charlie and others, I searched the archives and did not find any discussion of Bill Hayward, Bill Bowerman or the Oregon System. What is your take on this system?

Sore Subject?

Well, I don’t think anyone has heard of the Oregon System. I’m (unabashadly) the resident distance runner, and I must say that I have no idea what the Oregon System is. Can you post a couple links, so I can check it out? If you like I could play devils advocate on the subject and we could exchange info.

As I thought there was a tie up between Bowerman and Lydiard

Bill Bowerman of Oregon: The impact of a life on sport and physical education
W. H. Freeman*
Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC USA

Bill Bowerman (1911-1999) was an athletics coach who had a major impact on sport and physical education. He was a football player and sprinter at the University of Oregon, a high school football and track coach at Medford High School, and track coach at Oregon from 1948-1973.

His major contributions were (1) popularizing jogging in the United States, (2) his “hard-easy” approach to training, and (3) his experiments leading to the modern forms of running shoes.

His interest in jogging grew from meetings with Arthur Lydiard during a 1963 visit to New Zealand. He described Arthur’s joggers in newspaper reports, then worked with cardiologist Waldo Harris to apply his elite training to the average person. The book that resulted, Jogging, began a running boom in 1967, paving the way for Cooper’s Aerobics in 1968.

Always an experimenter with training methods, he blended Swedish fartlek with interval training in the late 1940s, resulting in a system that produced almost 20 sub-4:00 milers. At retirement he had coached 25% of the sub-4:00 milers in the U.S., beginning with Jim Bailey of Australia in 1956. His system was described in Coaching Track and Field and in High Performance Training for Track and Field.

An experimenter with running shoes since the 1940s, in the early 1960s he began a small shoe import business with one of his runners, designing shoes for Onitsuka Tiger using light synthetic materials. In 1972 the company began manufacturing its own shoes, under the new name of Nike.

Throughout his life he insisted that his primary role was as a teacher.

Palmy may be the resident distance expert…I’m just the one who thinks he is :smiley:

WAOH! 25% of them?! HOly Crap?! Man I thought charlie was a badarse, but danm… Who has coached the most sub 10.25 100m runners? That’s about comperable to a 4:00 mile… 4:00 isn’t all the impressiv anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

p.s. I never said I was an expert, just that i was the only guy who ran 70 mile weeks who posts on this board :stuck_out_tongue:

tou are right…doesn’t alter the fact that I think I am though hahahahahahaha

I used to run 70 mile weeks, but that was before i found out how much i love the 400…

We better be careful though, there might be an ultra-runner around. i know of at least one who gets 70 miles…in three days :eek: I now feel lazy once i became more of a sprinter. :slight_smile:

Hehe, yah. I know :frowning: I’m cuttin’ my volume down from 60-70KM to 30-40 KM. I ran 70 mile weeks during cross country this fall. I’m lowering my volume so I can get more good out of the sprinting work I’m doing. I figure 10 weeks out from championships is about the right time to do that, no?

Palm, what level do you run level at? HS, college, masters, etc…? How old are you? How long is the race?
It would depend on what type of training you’ve put in up to the 10 weeks before the race. If you’ve put in long runs, I’ve gotten athletes to set PB’s in 8 weeks of specific training using a template of 3 - 1 - 3 - 10 day taper. Let me clarify that these folks are not elite athletes, although they are very experienced runners and they are simply setting PBs in road races and track meets they had run previously. Let me know if I can help.


This is my third year of running track, and second season of cross country. I’m a junior in the Cali high school system. I’d love any help you could give me, but the bus is coming, so I have to go to school now :stuck_out_tongue:

Palm, PM me your e-mail
i can send you a doc to have a look at
it should be interesting…

Yeah, Kind-of off track here. Let’s try this again.
Charlie what is your take on the Oregon System since only 1 other person of the thousands of members have even heard of it?

I think some of the off track was due to the definition of the “oregon system”. Sample training weeks or philosophies could help. I know how bowerman has influenced distance running, but it is hard to tell where his influence begins and ends.

Yah, I don’t mean to be rude, but there is a lot of very smart coaches and runners here, and it’s not that we’re not interested in Bowerman’s system, or in his effect on American distance running (He’s probably the single most influentual running coach), just that we haven’t read/researched what he has done SPECIFICALLY. Please enlighten us. I, at least, am brimming with anticipation.

I am not the one to enlighten anyone, being that my knowledge of his system is limited. This is why I posted the question in the first place, to have a discussion about it and to learn from others who know a lot about it. At any rate, I’d be happy to share what I know, but I’m not going to post a recap of his principals or the system, if you want that simply buy “High-Performance Training For Track and Field” It is basic in discription, but at the same time they do a pretty good job with it, a little something for everyone.

Sorry about that, Kaczmarski. From the way you’d posted with your cynical remark “Only one of hundreds of members on this board” I’d assumed that you weren’t interested in sharing info; so much as you were interested in drawing Charlie and others into telling you everything there was to know about the Pros and Cons of the Oregon system. So far, from what I’ve read, the Oregon system is the way to go for distance running. hard/easy (High/low) intensity is what Charlie is all about… well I better stop there before I start speeking for “the man” himself. But I personally like the whole approach. I guess in distance running you can’t really have “too much” endurance training as long as you stay relatively event specific. The closer you get to speed-based events, though, the less applicable that train of thought becomes.

There are a few threads in the Archives discussing A. Lidyard’s general training approach,which might be of some relevance to this thread too.
So you are apparently challenging your more traditionally oriented thinking -which I think is often a good thing in itself - but could you explain a bit your very latest phrase?

What I think I’ve come to understand is that there are two trains of thought. A) Get as much speed as you can, and only as much endurance as you can get away with, and B) Get as much endurance as you can and only as much speed as you can get away with. Now “Get away with” is a pretty vague thing to say, but it makes sense. The shorter the distance of the race, the more applicable theory A) is. The longer the race the more applicable theory B) is. The 800, however, falls right inbetween, and I believe that you can train very good 800 runners by coming from either approach. The only thing is, there are just about equal requirements of speed and endurance for the 8, so that’s why it really does not make a huge amount of difference which method you use.

Hmmm… looks like I went on another tangent. :stuck_out_tongue:

I do find it interesting ot note that in the “Oregon System” it is not recomended to mix speed and distance on the same day. Kind of sounds like something this one sprint coach, would recomend :wink: